Does rehabilitation means getting to play professional football again?
January 10, 2015 5:59 AM Subscribe
How nice it would have been if the whole sorry saga of Ched Evans had been left in 2014. Unfortunately, Oldham Athletic are the latest team to suggest that they are considering signing the convicted rapist to play for their side, here on the other side of December 31st. If you - like me – think this is a truly terrible, awful decision, then you will be used to hearing the same arguments put forward in his defence, so here is a handy rebuttal guide.Lucy Hunter Johnson on why convicted rapist Ched Evans shouldn't play football.
Long term Grauniad football commentator Marina Hyde disagrees, argueing that using public pressure to amend legal failings is wrong even when it's about a footballer:
I don’t see any petitions on rape sentencing, unfortunately – an absence that adds to a nagging sense about this latest chapter in the Great Outrage Wars: that clicktivism, and feminist clicktivism too often, is overly preoccupied with fighting the battles it can win relatively easily, rather than the much more ambitious ones it should try to win. Is it aspirational to want to live in a country where football – football! – is expected to mitigate the fact that the law is an ass? I know the longest journey starts with a single step, or whatever the puppy poster peeling off your dentist’s wall says, but the relentless focus on explaining why a footballer is not covered by the idea of paying his debt to society via the criminal justice system is both irrational and increasingly concerning.Background: Ched Evans is a professional footballer playing for Sheffield United who was convinced of rape and sentenced to five years imprisonment. Early release meant he was out of jail in October 2014.
He himself has always maintained that the only thing he was guilty off was cheating on his girlfriend and there have been suspicions that his family and supporters were behind harassment and outing of the victim, who has had to change her identity several times after being outed online.
Evans has sought to return to his football career, first with Sheffield United, then with Hartlepool, Oldham and Grimsby, each club ultimately declining to sign him after intense public pressure. An attempt to sign with an Maltese club fell through due to the terms of his registration as a sex offender out on license barring him from working abroad.
In the case of Oldham, the club's statement said that the collapse of the deal was due to intense public pressure which included "vile and abusive threats, some including death threats".
Since then Ched Evans has offered his first apologies, though still maintaining his innocence. His case is currently under criminal review; earlier attempts to get his conviction overturned have failed.
The Professional Football Association has said it would support clubs if they want to sign Evans.
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